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Geoff Baker covers the Mariners for The Seattle Times. He provides daily coverage of the team throughout spring training, and during the season.

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August 10, 2008 5:57 PM

Lopez aftermath

Posted by Larry Stone

I honestly thought Jim Riggleman might make a public example of Lopez after the game (beyond pulling him from the lineup in the fourth inning shortly after hitting a home run). But for now, the manager chose to let the situation speak for itself.

"I don't think I even want to address that right now,'' Riggleman said after the 11-3 Mariners' loss to Tampa Bay, when asked why he pinchy-hit for Lopez in the fourth.

"I appreciate the question, because obviously, you take a regular out of the ballgame in the middle of the game, it's going to raise questions. But I haven't talked to Jose yet. After I talk to him, I'll find the right words to explain it to you guys. But I want to get those words out to him first.''

It seems pretty obvious that something about Lopez's play on defense in the fourth inning upset Riggleman. He did confirm that there was no injury involved. The most glaring moment, as mentioned in the game thread, was when Lopez let Jeff Clement's throw on a stolen-base attempt by Akinori Iwamura get past him. I asked Riggleman if he was trying to send a message by pulling Lopez, but again he wouldn't bite.

Lopez, meanwhile, looked none too happy after the game. He talked briefly with reporters, saying he had "no idea" why he was pulled. He said, "Ask the manager.''

We tried that, Jose.

At any rate, this is a good test of Riggleman's abililty to hold this team together. After Carlos Silva's comments calling out his teammates on Friday, and now Lopez being benched mid-game, things could really start to go south. I think the team has responded well to Riggleman thus far; we'll see how he navigates this treacherous juncture.

Riggleman was pretty succinct in summing up the game.

"It was just a bad ballgame. We didn't play good. I don't know how else to say it. It's not in line with the way we've played lately. We've been very competitive. We're getting beat, but as all clubs do when they lose, you feel you should have won ballgames. We've had so many we felt we should have won. Today, it didn't even look like we belonged on the same field.''

Well said by the skipper. Now I'm going to go attend a remedial course on lineup posting.

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Posted by Ziasudra

6:19 PM, Aug 10, 2008

All I have to say is, it's about time. I gained a lo0t of respect for Riggs today.

Posted by NB

6:34 PM, Aug 10, 2008

If only Jose would step up and stop fading in the second half like he did in '06 and '07. If only he would start to look like he was living up to the talent we all know he has.

.352/.379/.538 since the break.

This team is dumb.

Posted by Kyle

6:36 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Way to send a message to one of the only players contributing. This is plain stupid...Maybe the right idea, but maybe Yuni should get this treatment more often, or Clement (especially today). Hell, on that play Yuni didn't even move to back up the throw. He stood there at SS the entire time.

Same ol' retarded management if you ask me. And if you pull someone early in a game and by the time you speak to the media after the game neither the player knows whats going on and you can't speak about it...that's stupid.

Posted by RagArm

6:40 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Riggleman really earned his nickname of Wiggleworm this evening with his dance around the Jose Lopez/Yuni Beatencourt problems. Well, the Silva fiasco as well.

He pleads ignorance, or wants to deal with things behinds the scene, or disses the press.

I was so hopeful when Mac left the team, but after Wiggleworm's first words, I knew he was speaking the company line and he had no backbone. This shows it as well.

Call the bums out in public when they are not performing. They are public figures. Let them be men about their less than professional attitudes and on field actions.

Lopez and Yuni are acting like 8th graders (sorry 13 year old kids, but yeah). They have chips on their shoulders and they are just going through the motions. I have written that here before and been berated, but it is true. We know who is giving 100% and who cares, you can see it in how they carry themselves.

With the lack of talent in this organization, from the top down to the bottom, this fanchise is stuck in a rut and is not even going to be competitive by 2015. Yeah, it takes that long.

So there!

Posted by Brian

6:51 PM, Aug 10, 2008

if u bench lopez for ONE error then you absolutly have to sit clement for a few games for his bone headed plays today. Yuni should be benched what, 18 times? one for each error. Wow, pick on an easy scape goat not the "hot prospect" that clement is claimed to be. btw, has he hit over .200 yet? yeachhh. good work wiggleworm.

Posted by scrapiron

6:52 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Lopez also made some mental errors in Saturday's game, so this is two days of issues with Jose in the field. I applaud Riggleman for sending a message to Jose, but like Kyle said above, why not send the same message to Yuni and/or Clement?

Clement had a bad, bad game. His situation was different than Lopez, because he was trying, but he looked real rusty behind the plate. It's probably a situation where he needs more playing time to work through it.

Yuni, what can you say about Yuni? He's had mental lapses all season. I'm also pretty sure that he's an example of a selfish player that Carlos Silva was talking about. Yuni can't bunt, but isn't taking extra BP to work it out. Yuni is given the green light and has a goal set by management to steal 20 bases, yet he has 2. There's two examples of selfish play for Yuni that Riggleman said he hadn't seen.

You want examples of selfish play, RIggleman? Go to the batting cage. Go to infield practice. What players are not there putting in extra time that should be? There's your selfish play.

Posted by Ronaldo

6:54 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Clements error was much more boneheaded and lazy. Clement is a guy who thinks he has it made as he was the annointed one who was a top pick and rocketed through the minors and doesnt put effort in to batting practice and clearly his crap D.

Posted by Adam

6:54 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Honestly, I'm having trouble seeing how Lopez has done anything to be immune to a manager's ire for not playing the game properly.

This isn't Cal Ripken Jr. we are talking about.


Lopez has a history of playing lacksidasically and not giving a top effort. He's certainly not above being benched, no matter how good people, including himself, think he is.

We don't have the whole story here, but if Riggleman felt Lopez was dogging it, he had every right to pull his lazy ass out of the game.


Oh, and Carlos Silva should shut up until he starts performing himself. I'll take a player who "selfhishly" puts up good numbers over a crappy, hardworking player any day of the month.

Posted by Adam

6:55 PM, Aug 10, 2008

if u bench lopez for ONE error then you absolutly have to sit clement for a few games for his bone headed plays today. Yuni should be benched what, 18 times? one for each error. Wow, pick on an easy scape goat not the "hot prospect" that clement is claimed to be. btw, has he hit over .200 yet? yeachhh. good work wiggleworm.


Uh - it's probably about effort, not execution...

Posted by Adam

6:57 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Clements error was much more boneheaded and lazy. Clement is a guy who thinks he has it made as he was the annointed one who was a top pick and rocketed through the minors and doesnt put effort in to batting practice and clearly his crap D.


Here's your chance: Go find us even one article or report that says Clement isn't a hard worker. Just one. Otherwise, quit making crap up.

Posted by PS

7:04 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Clements error was much more boneheaded and lazy. Clement is a guy who thinks he has it made as he was the annointed one who was a top pick and rocketed through the minors and doesnt put effort in to batting practice and clearly his crap D.

For being a first round pick out of college, he hardly "rocketed through the minors."

Do you have proof that he doesn't put in effort in batting practice, and what does that mean anyway? Does it mean he doesn't take batting practice, or at least not enough? Does it mean he's not doing the right things in BP?

Do you have any proof that he "thinks he has it made," or is this more speculation?

Honestly, the personal attacks at this blog just keep getting worse. Negative speculation on a person's character with absolutely zero reasoning? In fact, if you've ever read things he's had to say, or read what he's gone through to get this far, you'd know there's reason to believe the opposite of what you've said.

Posted by RagArm

7:09 PM, Aug 10, 2008

It seems that Clement has caught the ills of this team just by being in proximity. I catch colds that way too. He and the other young men called up have nobody to look up to, they have no example of how to do things right. Kenji isn't going to be of help to Clement since he can't even speak succinctly enough to communicate with his pitchers.

Ichiro has done great, but I doubt he is a role model for the new players. He is his own man with his own unique style that fots few others.

Clement has intensity in his eyes, much like Pudge Rodriguez. He will do things right when he has been on the team and knows he is the leader, and the best player. He will live up to his billing, in my very humble opinion.

There is some optimism in the players the M's have promoted, but the fact of the matter is, there are few others ready to do what major league players do: Win!

And that means Lincoln, Armstrong, Pekeldoulousikaman, and Wiggleworm are on par with our beloved Bill Bavasi. Turdos Supremeos.

Posted by downonstrikes

7:09 PM, Aug 10, 2008

It seems that Clement has caught the ills of this team just by being in proximity. I catch colds that way too. He and the other young men called up have nobody to look up to, they have no example of how to do things right. Kenji isn't going to be of help to Clement since he can't even speak succinctly enough to communicate with his pitchers.

Ichiro has done great, but I doubt he is a role model for the new players. He is his own man with his own unique style that fots few others.

Clement has intensity in his eyes, much like Pudge Rodriguez. He will do things right when he has been on the team and knows he is the leader, and the best player. He will live up to his billing, in my very humble opinion.

There is some optimism in the players the M's have promoted, but the fact of the matter is, there are few others ready to do what major league players do: Win!

And that means Lincoln, Armstrong, Pekeldoulousikaman, and Wiggleworm are on par with our beloved Bill Bavasi. Turdos Supremeos.

Posted by downonstrikes

7:11 PM, Aug 10, 2008

So there Mariners. That's two of us!!!

Posted by Charlie don't surf

7:13 PM, Aug 10, 2008

If Jose is having mental lapses in the field what is the solution? Maybe Riggleman could have Jose take extra fielding practice. Meanwhile he could keep Jose's bat in the lineup by putting him in the DH spot. That way Riggleman would be sending a constructive message to Jose without making an example of him: "Jose, we love your bat and offensive production but we really need you to work on your defense so you can be the complete player we all know you can be"

Posted by wag the dog

7:14 PM, Aug 10, 2008

It's about time Lopez get benched for lazy defense. Yuni should be next. If Lopez thinks all he has to do is show up and hit the ball, he's mistaken. The team needs him to play solid defense too. If he didn't like being benched he should man up and play harder in the field.

Silva's got a lot of nerve calling his teammates out when he's been such a disaster himself and Riggleman may not have liked the way Silva blew his wad to the press, but this benching of Lopez seems to suggest that Silva isn't all wrong in his assessment. This team has some guys who don't give it their all. Crappy defense takes the team out of it's rhythm, it forces the pitcher into a higher pitch count and it shows a lack of professionalism that's an insult to teammates and fans alike. I don't care whether Lopez is the only guy on the team who can hit. If he's in the lineup he can drag his butt out to Second Base and play hard.

As for Clement's passed balls, I think the difference is physical errors versus mental errors. Clement isn't a great defensive catcher, that's no surprise. It's been the book on him all along. But his errors aren't due to a lack of effort or a lack of heart or a lack of concentration.

This team may be near a meltdown, but maybe that's what is needed. When Mike Holmgren came to town it took him several years to get rid of all the "me first" players who weren't in it for the team. It was a painful process, but in the end he got rid of a lot of dead weight and replaced it with guys who could provide skill, leadership and heart. At of the Mariners who can't take the heat should be shown the door.

Posted by Hank

7:15 PM, Aug 10, 2008

it seems like there is a cultural divide on this team between management and some players and between the players

Posted by Ronaldo

7:18 PM, Aug 10, 2008

wow justifying one guy you likes errors vs a guy u clearly dislike. bias? yes.

Posted by Lenny Randle's Breath

7:27 PM, Aug 10, 2008

They should have done something about their infield mess at the deadline. Now they get what they deserve. You don't need a stat to see what you have there.

Posted by Barnaard

7:57 PM, Aug 10, 2008

This is a pathetic move by Riggleman... he's chastized Silva yesterday for making ignorant comments, while he firmly states he feels guys are giving great effort..

Then Lopez makes an error, and he's yanked..

Talk about being a two face..

The reality is that Lopez, Clement, and Betancourt are all trying, they just arent good defensive players..

Finally, didnt we just here a few days ago in an article, that Lopez has been one of the hardest workers and earliest arrivals at the ballpark, to go with Ibanez and Beltre?

Posted by Resin isn't Cheating

7:58 PM, Aug 10, 2008

I think the team has responded well to Riggleman thus far; we'll see how he navigates this treacherous juncture.

Riggle is 20-25 with a .444 winning percentage. He deserves to be fired for embarassing Lopez in the manner he did. There's a fine line and he crossed it. It would be one thing if he was serving out discipline evenly among all players. Silva deserves to be removed from the rotation and yet it hasn't happened. This move only further divides the pitchers versus position players. The team will not respond well.

Posted by fireichrio

8:11 PM, Aug 10, 2008

If i was lopez i woulda just left the team, managers do not yank guys like that. its bush league and against every unwritten baseball law ever.

Posted by batura

8:26 PM, Aug 10, 2008

You have to consider what Lopez pulled yesterday with the two failed glove flips. Combining the two days of mental errors, it makes sense to sit him for a couple of innings.

Posted by Nat

8:35 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Time for another team meeting? Riggleman has a challenge before him.

Speaking of Betancourt and Lopez and their repeated mental errors: at least Riggleman is dealing with this stuff, as opposed to Hargrove or McLaren who did nothing except maybe pat the player on the shoulder and say, "I know you're giving it 100%, son."

Yuni reminds me of a child. He looked totally bewildered, mad actually, when about a month ago he was PH for after some mishap on the bases- there have been so many I can't remember which one. Maybe that's partly due to the language barrier or cultural differences in what was said when he was taken out of the game. I know there's some truth to that.

Having come from poor backgrounds, when they each got contracts I think they equated the money with superstar status. Yes, they try to appear nonchalent but you can see each is embarrassed when he makes an error.

Betancourt and Lopez need to be tutored again in the basics: 1) Don't try to show off, just make the throw as routine as possible, 2) Don't tag so politely, make contact quickly, and 3) Stay focused on each play! Sometimes they both look like they have ADD, for God's sakes.

Even though it's way overdue it's time to reinforce this stuff since there's nothing left to play for this year. And make sure they realize their future as Mariners depend on applying it!

The Mariners gave a lot of chances to a guy like Julio Mateo for worse "crimes" before they sent him packing. Might as well at least show the same level of patience with our middle infield and hopefully get something of value in return.

Posted by gisupply01

8:38 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Why is Clement getting so much flak on this board? Yes he did have a rough day, but tell me how many knuckleball pitchers has he worked with? The knuckleball is one of the hardest to catch, and I think that he did alright considering his lack of experiance catching the knuckleball. I wont make excuses for him, but it should be a consideration that everyone takes into account before they tear him a new one!

Posted by Bruce

8:39 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Both Yuni and Lopez have had too many mental errors and need to be sent a message (be benched for a couple of games.) I'm not sure about being pulled in the middle of the game. We'll see how Lopez responds to that.

Silva should make sure he handles his own business first before ripping into others.

Posted by Nat

9:03 PM, Aug 10, 2008

An interesting link to a story about Joe Madden:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/10/sports/baseball/10rays.html

Makes me wish for a GM and manager in that mold, not old school baseball guys as usual.

Posted by GripS

9:26 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Lopez f'd up in last nights game and REALLY f'd up that out at second. The way that play appeared to go down it looked as if Lopez didn't even care. Riggleman was absolutely in the right for sitting his ass down. Not sure what Lopez's problem is for not realizing the reason.

Lopez pretty much COST us last nights game by trying to be a showoff so he had this coming.

Posted by Ronald Haggis

9:32 PM, Aug 10, 2008

He wasnt being a showoff.. stop bein ridiculous, one play he totally has no shot to make, and the other the only way he was gonna make a play was to make the flip..

Bottomline, Jose Lopez has no range at 2nd and is a below average defender... lets recognize that and stop pretending that this inefficiency is the result of poor focus.. It isn't, it's the result of not being good defensively..

Bottomline, kid is hitting like .350 since the break, and is one of the only players on the roster who brings it every day, in at least some capacity (offense)..

Rigglemen is a bafoon

Posted by excel

9:45 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Lopez said he had no idea why he was benched. That says it all. He needed to be benched quite a few nights ago but that's another story. Along with his partner in the infield hall of screw ups Uni.
Other night was a perfect example with tag at second. The catcher throws perfect throw to second beat the runner and lopez does a soft NO INTENSITY tag instead of being out he was safe.
I don't give a rip how good you can hit. If you can't play the field the manager needs to pull his head out and dh you. Same with uni. What a bunch of lazy goons. They need to go work for a week in the real world. They've lost all touch with reality!

Posted by -j.

10:01 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Riggleman did the ABSOLUTE right thing today in benching Lopez. His lazy, poor excuse for defense effort this season has been swept aside far too long.

Anyone that puts Clement in that category is just flat ignorant. Clement is a rookie catcher and has progressed a great deal behind the plate. The only way you do that is through hard work. He has one bad game defensively and all the idiots come out of the woodwork calling him out.

Geoff you really need to start moderating this mess.

Posted by scrapiron

10:13 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Hall of Fame manager Billy Martin once pulled Hall of Fame outfielder Reggie Jackson in the middle of an inning because he didn't like the way he was playing in the field. It has been done before, and I wouldn't call it bush league.

The only thing pampered millionaires respond to is taking away playing time. If you want an example look at the Tampa Bay Rays, where B.J. Upton was benched for a game in Seattle because he didn't run out a ground ball.

Posted by bandwagonJumper

10:24 PM, Aug 10, 2008

didn't see the game, but I wonder if Lopez back talked to the skipper after messing up and so he was benched for an attitude adjustment.

Posted by downonstrikes

11:06 PM, Aug 10, 2008

It seems like Rick Rizz is the last person on earth to be singing the praises of this team and its players. His sugar almost makes me gag. I wish the radio broadcast team would be made over too. There is getting to be nothing I like about the Mariners. Except the opportunity to rag on them.

Posted by davis

11:28 PM, Aug 10, 2008

agree what the hell is with the homer announcers? id love to see them be critical and ask real questions during the game since its u know their job to? gosh

Posted by Canabian

11:35 PM, Aug 10, 2008

Test or not...Riggleman is gone after this season anyway. New GM = new manager.

No one would take the GM position without putting in their own people, people that fit the GM's philosophy.

I personally hope we get the Dodger's assistant GM Kim Ng, she has quite a resume and people say her hands were all over the Manny deal.

Posted by Sailor Baseball Fan

11:36 PM, Aug 10, 2008


Riggs handled the questions like a 'profesional' .
I'm sure Lopez and every player on the roster will eventually understand that .

Geoff expected a much more public flogging , but in my opinion , how Lopez handles the private thrashing and humiliation will be interesting to see .

I'm inclined to think Lopez will appreciate the manor in which his manager protected him .

I'm inclined to think we will also see better play from the shortstop as a result .


Posted by rightwingrick

12:52 AM, Aug 11, 2008

Geoff,
A couple of things I don't understand about how the M's are handling some of their young players in the minor leagues:

1. Why do the M's have Craig Wilson, 32 years old, playing 1B in Tacoma when they have two guys (Hubbard and Limonta) hitting .300 + with high OBP fighting for time in AA??? Don't they need to learn about Limonta, especially? It seems he's made his case at A and AA level, hitting over .300 at both over multiple years. Very strong minor league stats. He's 25. It seems to me they should accelerate their learning on this guy. What's the hold-up, for goodness sake?

2. Along the same vein, why move 28 year old Jon Nelson up to AAA recently? He's 28 and obviously not in the M's long-range plans. Seems like a wasted move.

3. Catchers Rob Johnson (AAA) and Adam Moore (AA) both have much higher defensive upsides than Clement. Moore, in particular, appears to have a high offensive upside as well. At this point, why not move Johnson to the majors and Moore to AAA and begin learning more about the future? Both are hitting above .300 now, and Moore has done well offensively every year.

4. Why isn't OF Michael Wilson being moved up to AAA immediately? Again, a 25 year old guy, they've been hoping to see him come around, and he has. He's a former 2nd round pick, over 20 home runs, high on-base percentage, tearing the cover off the ball in AA. Shouldn't they be learning if Wilson can make the next move to AAA THIS YEAR, not next?

5. With lack of pitching depth at AA and AAA, why are the M's waiting so long to move SP Pineda up from Wisconsin to the California League, or even to AA? Pineda has completely dominated at A-level Wisconsin, and he's proving nothing by continuing to pitch there (97Ks in 112 innings, only 32 walks, a 2.17 ERA). Yea, he's only 18. But Felix Hernandez was pitching in the major leagues at about that age.

6. With outfielders Wladamir Balentein, Greg Halman (AA), Michael Saunders (AAA), and Mike Wilson (AA), all top prospects (using current perfomance as the measure), and even Jeremy Reed looking like he's found it finally, why would the M's be looking for ANYONE in the outfield as part of a trade? Seems like AA and AAA pitching, nearly major league ready, is what they need. Immediate help at 1B also seems like a priority (which is what makes one wonder about why they are so slow to challenge Limonta and Hubbard at the next level).

7. Rich Dorman and Chris Jakubuskas have pitched extremely well this year, and have kind of risen from the ashes, it seems. Any reason to think these guys have a chance when healthy?

8. Is it my imagination, or does our higher-level management not believe in or understand the importance of on-base percentage, plate discipline, etc. I've heard that Chuck Armstrong, in particular, "doesn't believe in all that statistical mumbo-jumbo", and that Bill Bavasi shared his lack of faith in statistical performance. Both apparently place much more value on "tools" and "potential" and "good old-fashioned aggressiveness at the plate".

Posted by kosudango

1:55 AM, Aug 11, 2008

So one of our hottest hitters right now gets benched for one miss, but our catcher who doesn't know how to catch or hit in the big leagues is kept in the game until the end?? No wonder these guys play as they do(selfishly)supposedly. they can't trust their coaching staff one bit. they're trying to do things by themselves because they have no one to guide them in the right direction.

Posted by Ziasudra

6:27 AM, Aug 11, 2008

To kusudango (1:55 AM) - I'm surprised you know how to write, becausse you clearly don't know how to read. Or, you are too lazy to do so. Lopez was not benched for ONE mistake. He has sleep-walked through many innings all year, but they just started to come in back-to-back games, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
Have you ever heard about the straw that broke the camel's back?
And, to all of you who were trying to compare Clement with Lopez - Yes, Clement had a bad game, but it wasn't from goofing off - big difference.
To repeat - put Lopez in LF, Raul to 1B or DH.

Posted by Mr. X

6:40 AM, Aug 11, 2008

It's true that watching Lopez play the infield makes you want to take a bath with brown soap sometimes, but I'd be more in favor of benching a player before a game, maybe even for consecutive games. We're talking about a game last night with Failed Prospect Dickey on the mound, and Clement behind the plate playing dodgeball. Our worst defensive centerfielder was in center. So what kind of message does it really send? A manager who does this is admitting that he doesn't have control of the team. This is a "last resort" move.

If Raul doesn't come back next year, I'd be all for Lopez moving to DH, but remember he's still young. His mistakes appear to be more due to boredom from being the best player on the worst team in the AL, and that's something that can be fixed next season.

Posted by fred

6:59 AM, Aug 11, 2008

No matter if Riggleman, or someone else, is next year's manager, something must be done about the defense of both Lopez and Betancourt.

Lopez has limited range and attention lapses. Many groundballs leak through the right side of the infield which would be routine outs with another second baseman. But he has become a solid major-league hittter.

Betancourt had great range when he joined the team but has regressed, especially on balls hit to his left. His throwing remains erratic and he also has attention lapses. He has great natural speed and talent and can put the bat on the ball. He has not learned to run the bases, bunt, work the pitch count or execute fundamentals which he should long since have mastered.

Is tough love needed? Are they just not up to making adjustments? Must Lopez' fielding position be adjusted pitch-by-pitch from the dugout? Fines, benchings?

A huge issue to be resolved before next season or erratic play up the middle will continue to hurt the team and demoralize pitchers.

Posted by fred

7:28 AM, Aug 11, 2008

Someone mentioned Billy Martin's famous benching of Reggie Jackson in mid-inning after careless play.
Gil Hodges, then managing the Senators, went so far as to run into the outfield and remove Chuck Hinton in mid-inning after Hinton failed to hustle after a fly ball. Both Jackson and Hinton were cornerstone players, by the way, for their teams.
That sort of thing happened.

Times have changed but one thing has not: High-paid professionals must be expected to perform at a professional level. When they don't, they must be replaced or disciplined. The inmates cannot run the asylum.

Posted by RagArm

8:25 AM, Aug 11, 2008

Lopez writes a limerick:

As night quickly fades into dawn
Where has all my precious time gone?
I ended the day
Just bobbling away
I blame it on Mariner yawn.

Posted by jazzy5

9:00 AM, Aug 11, 2008

Long time lurker here, but I just had to comment.

It is very difficult to keep up with the schizophrenic nature of the people that comment on this blog.

One minute your flaming Riggleman for being too soft. The next minute you flame him for being too tough.

Which is it?

I wish I had a dollar for every time someone on this blog whined about Clement being a DH and not being allowed to play. Now you want Riggleman to bench him for making errors while trying to catch a knuckleballer? Is that really how you want to see a rookie treated? Veteran catchers have the same problems while catching a knuckleball so cut the guy some slack.

Yuni and Lopez are a different matter. I could see people whining about benching these guys if Riggleman hasn't been working with the team on defense. The thing is, this team has had extra fielding practice since Riggleman took over for McLaren and Yuni and Lopez are still making half-assed plays and half-hearted efforts.

Betancourt help cost RRS and the team their win (with the help of Jimenez) on Saturday by completely missing the tag on the play in the sixth by not putting his glove down and Lopez did exactly the same thing on Sunday. What is it with these guys? They haven't been in the league long enough to know how to tag a runner? This is completely unacceptable at the major league level.

And while it is true that Lopez is hitting well I don't think that is an excuse to overlook poor play and mental lapses. It is an absolute privilege to play in the big leagues and Betancourt and Lopez act like they're playing on the local tavern's softball team.

The other thing that irks me is the complete contempt shown towards Riggleman and Pelekoudas. These two men have been handed a grenade that has just had the pin pulled and thrown in the ocean. They've been asked to go find the pin. Impossible? Yes!

I realize that today's baseball fans are all "experts" because they are owners, gm's and managers in their fantasy leagues. There is a reason those leagues are called "fantasy." It is one thing to be successful under those conditions, but quite another thing when considering contracts, agents, media, and most of all human nature.

It ain't that easy, folks. That's all I'm saying.

Posted by BWare

9:00 AM, Aug 11, 2008

"I personally hope we get the Dodger's assistant GM Kim Ng, she has quite a resume and people say her hands were all over the Manny deal."

Sorry...the Manny deal was a Frank McCourt - Larry Lucchino best buds deal, according to the LA Times...

Posted by bartkofoed

9:03 AM, Aug 11, 2008

You would have to be a complete moron to believe or imply Riggleman made this move based on just one error.

Yes I am talking about you kyle, ronaldo, barnaard, resin, fireichiro and kosudango.

Posted by downonstrikes

9:36 AM, Aug 11, 2008

to jazzy5,

yeah, it ain't easy, but they are experienced, highly paid, backed by dozens of assistants, and are competing against other managers and GM's so they ought to be expected to get the team to win.

If they aren't up to the challenge, find someone who is, and do it now.

Bloggers may be schizoid, but this crazy team and mistake ridden front office has made each of us that way.

I can't believe anyone would defend anyone of these clowns this year.

Posted by Ernie

9:44 AM, Aug 11, 2008

at least the Mariners are guaranteed not to lose today!

Posted by Faceplant

10:02 AM, Aug 11, 2008

rightwingrick,

Not sure about the other questions but Jon Nelson was called up to AAA to take the spot of Michael Saunders who is playing in the olympics.

Posted by Husky Fan In New York

10:21 AM, Aug 11, 2008

We should go hard after Giambi and have him play 1B/DH along with Raul playing LF/DH (maybe some 1B too).

We also need a better SS and can trade Yuni or something.

Giambi will teach the younger guys how to work the count, get on base, and come back from disaster (steroid issues).

Posted by scrapiron

10:22 AM, Aug 11, 2008

rightwingrick - Wow, best overall analysis of the minor league system I've seen here in a while. Nice job. I'm not Geoff, but I'll answer you're questions to the best of my ability. My opinions, so I could be wrong.

1. Why do the M's have Craig Wilson, 32 years old, playing 1B in Tacoma?
scrap: The bigger question is why did they acquire Wilson in the first place? My guess is they weren't sure if LaHair was ready and wanted a veteran backup just in case.

2. Why move 28 year old Jon Nelson up to AAA recently?
scrap: Because Saunders is at the Olympics.

3. Catchers Rob Johnson (AAA) and Adam Moore (AA) both have much higher defensive upsides than Clement.
scrap: Jeff Clement is the starting catcher for the M's. Johjima is now untradable, and Burke is the third catcher, when no one else in baseball has 3 catchers on their roster. Poor roster management is blocking the development of Moore and Johnson. Clement should be the stater, Johnson the backup, and Moore should be at AAA ready as an injury-replacement.

4. Why isn't OF Michael Wilson being moved up to AAA immediately?
scrap: The Mariners have a logjam in the outfield at AAA. There is no need to rush Wilson. He'll be at AAA next season.

5. With lack of pitching depth at AA and AAA, why are the M's waiting so long to move SP Pineda up from Wisconsin to the California League, or even to AA?
scrap: The M's are worried that if you rush a pitcher and he fails, his confidence is ruined. They'd rather take their time and let their pitchers have success at each level. Pineda is young, and probably not ready for the jump to AA this late in the year.

6. Why would the M's be looking for ANYONE in the outfield as part of a trade?
scrap: Because it's the more readily available as trade bait from other teams. If the M's trade, say, Washburn, they need to take whatever they can get. They might pry a decent outfielder, but no team is going to give a stud pitcher for him. The M's were real lucky to get Gaby Hernandez.

7. Do Rich Dorman and Chris Jakubuskas have a chance?
scrap: Dorman hasn't impressed enough, he'll need more seasoning. Jakubuskas has opened some eyes, but scouts wonder if he can maintain that level. Both will probably be at AAA next season and see if they can continue their development.

8. Is it my imagination, or does our higher-level management not believe in or understand the importance of on-base percentage, plate discipline, etc.
scrap: Now THERE's the big question. You're talking about a sabermetric approach, which the old-school FO hates, and the GM didn't use. We're all waiting with baited breath to see who they hire as a new GM. If they hire a GM that at least embraces sabermetrics, there is hope for the franchise. If they hire an old school GM, then it's back to good ol' boy network that got the franchise where it is today.

Posted by jazzy5

10:32 AM, Aug 11, 2008

downonstrikes: I can't believe anyone would think that this team could be turned around this year!

This is a bad bad team that is the result of terrible mismanagement for too many years. To expect two guys that have had the term "interim" stamped across their foreheads to magically win with this mess is quite a fantasy in itself.

The real clowns are Armstrong and Lincoln whom meddle way too much in the day to day workings of this team. Many believe that they ran Lou Pinella out of town.

If a guy like Pinella couldn't get around them how do you expect two people with the term "interim" before their names to do it?

Posted by Lance

10:39 AM, Aug 11, 2008

Hard for me to blame Jose for any lackadaisical play at second base. He's just a bad second baseman. Just as Clement is a bad catcher. Jose belongs at third, or he doesn't belong anywhere.

It looks like this team has gone into "dog days" mode. Now they'll have to play for pride, something that seems to be in short supply with this group with a few exceptions.

Word is the waiver period for Jarrod Washburn and Raul Ibanez expired about a half-hour ago, so something could be announced at any moment, or it won't be announced at all for those two.

Posted by Chris from Bothell

10:44 AM, Aug 11, 2008

If Lopez got benched for one in a string of lazy plays, then by all rights, half the team should be benched for swinging at the first pitch.

And Yuni optioned to AAA to learn, well, everything. Assuming Yuni can be sent down without his consent. At the very least, he should lose some time to Tug and re-earn it when he takes extra defensive drills and learns patience at the plate.

And Clement sent down to learn 1b after at least 3 botched plays at catcher today. I know knuckleballers are hard to catch, but good lord.

Might be an interesting week, depending on what else Riggs does.

Posted by Lance

11:00 AM, Aug 11, 2008

"4. Why isn't OF Michael Wilson being moved up to AAA immediately?
scrap: The Mariners have a logjam in the outfield at AAA. There is no need to rush Wilson. He'll be at AAA next season." -- scrapiron

If so, it won't likely be with us unless they put him on the 40-man and he still has an option left. I believe he'll be a 6-year free agent this winter, just in time to blossom with someone else.

But, by moving Nelson to AAA maybe he's not in their plans anyway.

Also, too much love and patience is being shown to Clement as catcher when a real catching prospect is wasting away in Tacoma, Rob Johnson.

Note, not all of Jeff's PBs yesterday were with A.J. pitching. And he hasn't thrown out a base runner yet. 0-13 or something like that. That's not all on the pitchers or bad mid-infielders. How many years will we have to put up with that?

Victor Martinez in Cleveland is a good hit/bad catching catcher and look where they're at.

Posted by Faceplant

3:05 PM, Aug 11, 2008

"Also, too much love and patience is being shown to Clement as catcher when a real catching prospect is wasting away in Tacoma, Rob Johnson."

If you think Rob Johnson is more valuable than Jeff Clement I'm not sure what to say. Johnson was in grave danger of becoming a fringe prospect with a future as a ML backup before his recent hotstreak. But he's going to have to repeat this before I believe it's real.

But then again I guess I'm biased. Rob Johnson defense, while solid, has become extremely overrated.

"Victor Martinez in Cleveland is a good hit/bad catching catcher and look where they're at."

Because clearly it's Victor Martinez's fault that he's missed significant time due to injuries. And it's clearly Martinez's fault that the team is missing one of it's better starters, it's starting DH, as is getting an OPS of under .700 from every IF position except SS.

Seriously, you are trying to blame the guy that's barely played for Clevelands poor season?

By the way, greetings from Mexico! It's hot. LOL.

Posted by Karen

5:49 PM, Aug 11, 2008

Wow, kudos to you, jazzy5, for your post at 9:00 AM this morning about Jeff Clement's difficulties during the game yesterday. Anyone who knows what catchers have to contend with catching a knuckleball pitcher (even one who -- yesterday -- reportedly threw more of his other pitches because his knuckleball wasn't "knuckling") would not rag on Clement.

I know of one catcher who caught his first knuckleball pitcher for the first time in an All-Star Game, with predictable results and surely bad memories of that game.

That same catcher and his back-up both suffered a slew of "errors" during a season when their team had the worst 2B-SS combo in the majors.

So Clement's throw that Lopez missed is something I've seen a lot of from incompetent middle infielders, and it was rightfully changed to an error for Lopez by the scorer.

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